Disabled Students’ Allowance – for equal access to education

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Aimed at providing equal education for all, Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available to anyone living in England who is in higher education while hindered by a long-term physical illness, disability, learning difficulty or mental health condition. 

Not to be confused with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) – the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available regardless of whether the claimant is on a full or part-time course – though the financial assistance is likely to be lower for those on shorter courses.

Disabled Students’ Allowance payments are judged by the level of help a claimant requires, rather than their means or income. Split into three distinct sections, applicants are judged against whether they require any specialist equipment in order to fulfil their course, if they need any non-medical help (such as a transcriber) to study and can be allotted a ‘general allowance’ – for any special food, travel arrangements or other disability related costs.

Although funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the scheme is administered by Student Finance England (SFE). Any DSA applicants deemed eligible are asked to attend an assessment by SFE, after which they will be informed as to what financial assistance they are eligible to receive.

DSA funds are usually debited directly to the companies that provide the additional services required – however, any general allowance payments will be paid directly into the claimant’s personal bank account.